Be the boss, says a mom in the trenches: parent with loving calmness.
A friend of mine told me today her quiet victory as the mother of teen daughters. She labeled her hard-won brand of parenting Loving Calmness. Teens can be rude. They can rationalize outrageously. They roll eyes, condescend, shrug you off.
In response, one auto-pilot urge is to be rude right back, insult for insult. Also pout, argue, yell, pound the table and threaten our big guns. We all know how effective this all is. And what about giving in? My friend was the kind of parent who wants the child to have a happy life. She’d hear that teen uproar and cave in.
What my friend has discovered is a state of mind that puts her in the driver’s seat. She’s figured out that her teen’s behavior isn’t really about the mom. It’s about not getting her way. Mom says no, temper flies. It’s like toddler temper tantrums. In her new state of mind, my friend thinks: Mom loves kid; kid loves Mom. Sometimes you have to do what the boss says, like it or not. That’s love in action.
With her Loving Calmness state of mind, my friend says she no longer worries about not being liked. She gets the glare, the adolescent outrage, and she reminds herself what is important here: she still loves this impossible person, and she needs to continue calmly with what is necessary, whether that is “Do your schoolwork.” Or “No, you can’t go out when you’re grounded.”
by Maureen McKane, LCSW